Please keep in mind, I am no way anti-Orthodox. There will always be a place for Orthodoxy in my heart, just as there is a place for the Roman Catholic Church in which I was raised. In my junior year of high school, I started attending the Orthodox church simply because the well loved priest at my Catholic parish retired, and the priest scandal at the time made me question the trustworthiness of the Roman Church in America.
I was seventeen years old at the time, and visited the Orthodox church because a friend from school had a deacon there as her father and she invited me. Also, my father's side of the family is Orthodox. I did not become serious about Orthodoxy, in terms of insisting that Orthodoxy alone is the one true faith, until my junior and senior year of college, when I was away from home for the first time and the uncertainty and anxiety of my circumstances caused me to insist on a rigid understanding of the faith. The priests I became involved with in college were questionable, and gave me a warped view of what it means to be a Christian.
At the reception of my friend's wedding, during my final quarter of college, I had the most profound spiritual experience of my life. It's possible that I was experiencing heat exhaustion or some other natural cause, but I was convinced of feeling the profound presence of the love, joy, and peace of Christ in the room. I actually had to leave and eat outside for a few minutes because I felt so overwhelmed by it. This was not a presence that was monarchical and condemning, but one of grace and freedom. It's as if Jesus himself was present at this wedding feast.
The hours that passed by felt like minutes, as if I had entered eternity. I was Orthodox at the time and had no similar experience in an Orthodox setting. This spiritual experience was at a Protestant wedding service among Protestant friends who despite my foolish sectarianism, had come to accept me and care about my well being.
When I came home from college and reflected on my experiences and my mistakes, in how I offended fellow Christians, I came to realize that Christ is beyond our sectarianism. As I've said before, I haven't moved from the Orthodox team to the Protestant team. I feel that I've transcended teams to rely on Christ alone. (1 Tim 2:5) I do not claim that Protestantism is the only true way to understand the Christian faith. I'd only contend that it's one legitimate interpretation among several possible interpretations. All that matters is your love of Christ and whether you follow his commandments.
The central point of the Protestant Reformation, that salvation is by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone as found in Scripture alone, is firmly supported by the early church fathers. Luther and Calvin were among the most well read patristic scholars of their time and often appealed to the fathers in their writings. Based on careful research, the Reformers sincerely believed that they were restoring ancient Christian faith. They did not rely on themselves for Scriptural interpretation, but defended what they found to be the early patristic witness.
This is a collection of quotes from the church fathers that the Reformers appealed to in defense of their Reformation:The "Lutheran" Solas in the Church Fathers